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    No. 6 Northwestern Bests Wright State, 4-1, in NCAA Tourney Opener

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Sophomore Jessica Rigas was a perfect 2-for-2 in her 2007 NCAA Tournament debut.
    Sophomore Jessica Rigas was a perfect 2-for-2 in her 2007 NCAA Tournament debut.

    May 18, 2007

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    EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 2 seed Northwestern scored four runs in the bottom of the third inning to defeat Wright State, 4-1, Friday afternoon in the Wildcats' first game of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

    Northwestern improves to 46-11 with the win and advances to the winner's bracket game at 11 a.m. CT tomorrow, Saturday, May 19, against Illinois State. Wright State falls to 25-34 with the loss, and will face Notre Dame in an elimination game at 1:30 p.m. CT tomorrow.

    The Wildcats now are 9-1 in their opening game of the NCAA Tournament in the program's 10 appearances.

    Northwestern scored the first runs of the game in the bottom of the third, hanging a four-spot on the board against Wright State starter Allison Cox (15-14). Senior Katie Logan (Tempe, Ariz./Corona del Sol) led off the inning with a single back up the middle, then moved to second when sophomore Tammy Williams (Roscoe, Mo./Osceola) singled to short.

    A groundout by senior Garland Cooper (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) moved both runners up a bag, then freshman Nicole Pauly (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) dumped a double down the right-field line to score both Logan and Williams and give NU a 2-0 lead.

    One out later, sophomore Jessica Rigas (River Forest, Ill./Oak Park River Forest) launched a two-run home run deep over the fence in left field to make the NU lead four, 4-0. The blast was her ninth of the season. Williams' run scored in the inning gave her 66 for the year, breaking her own school record set last season.

    The Raiders got one run back in the top of the fourth. Two hit batters and an infield single resulted in a score against Wildcats' starter Lauren Delaney (Jefferson City, Mo./Helias), cutting the NU lead to three, 4-1.

    Northwestern replaced Delaney in the circle with senior Eileen Canney (Paradise, Calif./Paradise) to begin the fifth inning, and Canney promptly struck out the side. She fanned the first four batters she saw, and retired all nine Raiders she faced in the game in order to pick up her fourth save of the year.

    Delaney went 4.0 innings in the game, allowing one run on two hits, a pair of hit batters and a walk to go along with six strikeouts. She improved to 19-2 on the season with the win.

    Logan finished the game 3-for-4 with a run scored, but both Rigas and Williams had a pair of hits. Rigas and Pauly both had two RBIs for the 'Cats.

    Cooper received two intentional walks in the game, giving her 11 on the year and 31 for her career. She ranks fifth in NCAA Division I history in the category, and her 11 this year rank 11th in NCAA single-season history.